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Why an Aboriginal Workforce Strategy is necessary
Evidence shows that increasing Aboriginal economic participation is fundamental to achieving sustained improvement across a range of indicators in education, employment, health and justice. Economic independence enhances the sustainability and viability of South Australian Aboriginal communities. It also increases Aboriginal employment, supports a more vibrant business sector, and encourages more investment and innovation across South Australia – South Australian Government Aboriginal Action Plan 2019–2020.
The gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal South Australians on every measurable indicator is too wide. Aboriginal people do not enjoy the same levels of prosperity or outcomes in health, education, and employment.
It is incumbent on those who can effect positive change for Aboriginal people to do so.
DHS is committed to employing more Aboriginal staff, retaining and upskilling current Aboriginal staff and creating a culturally safe working environment to make our department an employer of choice for Aboriginal people.
Employment of Aboriginal people in the public sector has been directly linked to many benefits, including:
- improved access and outcomes for clients;
- increased cultural competency of service delivery; and
- better collaboration between government and Aboriginal people.
To achieve these benefits, we must set firm targets. We must be held to account and ensure that we consistently monitor and achieve our targets.
DHS has set a target of 4% for its workforce to be Aboriginal by the end of 2023 and an improvement year on year thereafter. The responsibility to achieve this target lies with all divisions and directorates and will be embedded into Executive Directors’ Performance Development Plans to further demonstrate the department’s commitment.
All areas within the department are encouraged to work closely with the Principal Aboriginal Workforce Consultant within People and Performance Division, to assist in developing specific recruitment and retention strategies for their areas.